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hemoglobin carrying oxygen in red blood cells

Hemoglobin (Hgb)

What is Hemoglobin (Hgb)?

Hemoglobin is that the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and returns CO2 from the tissues back to the lungs.

The traditional adult hemoglobin (abbreviated Hgb or Hb) molecule contains two alpha-globulin chains and two beta-globulin chains.

As the infant grows, the gamma chains are gradually replaced by beta chains, forming the adult hemoglobin structure.

Each globulin chain contains a crucial iron-containing porphyrin compound termed heme.

Embedded within the heme compound is an iron atom that’s vital in transporting oxygen and CO2 in our blood.

The iron contained in hemoglobin is additionally liable for the red color of blood.

(Hgb) also plays a crucial role in maintaining the form of red blood cells.

In their shape, red blood cells are round with narrow centers resembling a donut without a hole within the middle.

Abnormal hemoglobin structure can, therefore, disrupt the form of red blood cells and impede their function and flow through blood vessels.

How is Hemoglobin measured?

(Hgb) is typically measured as a neighborhood of the routine complete blood count (CBC) test from a blood sample.

Several methods exist for measuring hemoglobin, most of which are done currently by automated machines designed to perform different tests on blood.

The free hemoglobin is exposed to a chemical containing cyanide that binds tightly with the hemoglobin molecule to make cyanomethemoglobin.

What are normal (Hgb) values?

The hemoglobin level is expressed because of the amount of hemoglobin in grams (gm) per deciliter (dL) of blood, a deciliter being 100 milliliters.

The normal ranges for hemoglobin depend upon the age and, beginning in adolescence, the gender of the person. the traditional ranges are:

  • Newborns: 17 to 22 gm/dL
  • One (1) week of age: 15 to twenty gm/dL
  • One (1) month of age: 11 to fifteen gm/dL
  • Children: 11 to 13 gm/dL
  • Adult males: 14 to 18 gm/dL
  • Adult women: 12 to 16 gm/dL
  • Men after middle age: 12.4 to 14.9 gm/dL
  • Women after middle age: 11.7 to 13.8 gm/dL

All of those values may vary slightly between laboratories. Some laboratories don’t differentiate between adult and “after middle age” hemoglobin values.

Pregnant females are advised to avoid both high and low (Hgb) levels to avoid increased risks of stillbirths (high hemoglobin – above the traditional range) and premature birth.

Low Hemoglobin level mean?

Anemia or low red blood count is related to low hemoglobin levels.

A less than a normal number of red blood cells is mentioned as anemia and hemoglobin levels reflect this number.

There are many reasons (causes) for anemia.

Normal and anemic levels of red blood cells
Normal and anemic levels of red blood cells

Some of the more common causes of anemia are:

  • Loss of blood (traumatic injury, surgery, bleeding, carcinoma, or stomach ulcer).
  • Nutritional deficiency (iron, vitamin B12, folate).
  • Bone marrow problems (replacement of bone marrow by cancer).
  • Suppression by red blood corpuscle synthesis by chemotherapy drugs.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Abnormal hemoglobin structure (sickle cell anemia or thalassemia).

What does a high Hemoglobin level mean?

Higher than normal hemoglobin levels are often seen in people living at high altitudes and in people that smoke.

Dehydration produces a falsely high (Hgb) measurement that disappears when the proper fluid balance is restored.

Some other infrequent causes of high hemoglobin levels are:

  • Advanced lung disease (for example, emphysema).
  • Certain tumors.
  • A disorder of the bone marrow referred to as polycythemia rubra vera.
  • Abuse of the drug erythropoietin (Epogen) by athletes for blood doping purposes (increasing the quantity of oxygen available to the body by chemically raising the assembly of red blood cells).

What is Sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease may be a genetic condition during which the standard of hemoglobin is flawed.

This condition can cause abnormal hemoglobin which will end in abnormally-shaped (sickled) red blood cells.

These abnormal red blood cells cannot easily undergo small blood vessels resulting in inadequate oxygen for the tissues of the body.

Sickle cells even have a shorter life than normal red blood cells (10 to twenty days compared to 120 days).

This rapid turnover may end in inadequate time to exchange the red blood cells and should end in anemia.

Symptoms of red blood cell anemia vary counting on its severity. Patients with red blood cell traits may experience mild if any, symptoms in the least.

In red blood cell disease, symptoms are more significant, especially in episodes of acute crisis. These symptoms can include:

What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia may be a group of hereditary conditions with quantitative hemoglobin deficiency.

The body’s failure to form globulin molecules will cause a compensatory mechanism to form other less compatible globulin molecules.

The various sorts of thalassemia are defined to support what sort of globulin molecule is deficient.

The severity of those conditions depends on the sort of deficient globulin chain, the number of deficient globulins, and therefore the severity of the underproduction.

Mild disease may only present as mild anemia whereas severe deficiency might not be compatible with life.

What is the hemoglobin A1c test?

(Hgb) A1c or glycosylated hemoglobin may be a rough indication of blood glucose control in people with DM over the preceding 3 months.

As more glucose (blood sugar) circulates within the blood on a day to day, more glucose is sure to the circulating hemoglobin.

Normal hemoglobin A1c levels range between 4% to five .9%. As this number reaches 6% or greater, it signifies poorer diabetes control.

A hemoglobin A1c of 6% roughly correlates with a mean blood glucose level of 135 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) over the previous 3 months.

Each 1% increase in hemoglobin A1c above 6% represents mean blood glucose of roughly 35 mg/dL over 135 mg/dL.

For instance, a hemoglobin A1c measurement of seven corresponds to a mean blood glucose level of 170 mg/dL within the previous 3 months.

How can an individual increase his or her hemoglobin level?

There is a variety of the way to extend (Hgb) levels.

Decreased red blood corpuscle production (for example, altered bone marrow hemoglobin production, iron deficiency),

Increased red blood corpuscle destruction (for example, liver disease),

By blood loss (for example, trauma from a gunshot or knife wound).

Addressing these underlying causes of low hemoglobin levels initially determines what method to use to extend (Hgb) levels.

Methods to extend hemoglobin levels are varied and their use depends on the underlying problems.

A number of the ways to extend hemoglobin include:
  • Transfusing red blood cells.
  • Receiving erythropoietin (a hormone wont to stimulate red blood corpuscle production in individuals with decreased red blood corpuscle production or increased red cell destruction).
  • Taking iron supplements.
  • Increasing the intake of iron-rich foods (eggs, spinach, artichokes, beans, lean meats, and seafood) and foods rich in cofactors (such as vitamin B6, vitamin Bc, vitamin B12, and vitamin C).

These are important for maintaining normal hemoglobin levels.

Such foods include fish, vegetables, nuts, cereals, peas, and citrus fruits.

Individuals shouldn’t take iron supplements or other treatments for low (Hgb) levels.

So without first discussing such treatments with their physician as side effects from these treatments and/or excess iron intake may cause additional problems.

Also, iron supplements should be kept far away from children as iron poisoning in young children is often fatal.

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